Our mission, in collaboration with Isaacman, a team of cross-agency and marketing partners, and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, was as complex as it was simple: Introduce the world to Isaacman, change the stakes for future all-civilian space missions and support a fundraising/PR effort to generate $200M+ to help end childhood cancer with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Ready for Launch
From the get-go, we needed to distance the mission from negative narratives around billionaires and vanity space joy rides. We believed that a diverse crew would reinforce the idea that space is accessible to all. We needed a thoughtful approach to introduce the mission, balancing earned and social media opportunities across a demanding and compressed training and preparation scale with launch date set for Sept. 15, 2021.
We selected St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as the charity partner to help cure childhood cancer here on Earth, while exploring the stars. We set a $200M fundraising goal, with Isaacman pledging the first $100M.
Branding the mission Inspiration4, we created four seats built around key ideals — LEADERSHIP, HOPE, GENEROSITY, PROSPERITY.
Our cross-team, cross-agency strategies ensured Inspiration4’s dual aims of advancing civilian space travel with the mission of St. Jude—and encouraged others to donate and take action to support the effort beyond passively watching the launch.
Meet The Astronauts
- LEADERSHIP SEAT
This seat represented Isaacman’s command of the mission, previously only held by trained astronauts.
- HOPE SEAT
The first person with a prosthesis, first pediatric cancer survivor, and youngest American in space.
- GENEROSITY SEAT
Life-long space enthusiast and St. Jude donor who won a seat through fundraising.
- PROSPERITY SEAT
Dr. Sian Proctor
Geologist and former NASA hopeful who beat 250+ applicants in Shift4's social media contest.
The LEADERSHIP seat represented Isaacman’s command of the mission, previously only held by trained astronauts.
We promoted the story of St. Jude physician assistant Hayley Arceneaux, who filled the HOPE seat. Treated by St. Jude as a child, Hayley was the first person with a prosthesis, first pediatric cancer survivor, and the youngest American in space.
The GENEROSITY seat, open to a St. Jude donor, was filled by Chris Sembroski, a life-long space enthusiast. Donations of all levels were eligible, and the month-long campaign raised almost $15M.
The PROSPERITY seat was open to Shift4 customers who participated in a social media contest and used Shift4Shop, the e-commerce platform offered by Shift4 Payments. Dr. Sian Proctor, a black woman had previously applied to be a NASA astronaut, won from 250+ applicants.
The response to the mission was overwhelming: 25,000+ articles, 135 billion impressions throughout the campaign, 100,000+ unique social posts, and $238M in fundraising commitments for St. Jude as of Oct. 14, 2021.
The crew was recognized individually and as a group in a variety of forums, including NBC’s May 2021 “Inspiring America” special, ABC World News Tonight’s “People of the Week,” a special TIME magazine “book,” a CBS Morning “Note to Self” segment, multiple NBC TODAY segments, and many more.
Isaacman’s company, Shift4, also saw record gains from the mission, with the company share price rising from $67 a share before the introductory press conference to an all-time high of $80 per share on return. The team counseled Shift4 executives throughout the campaign, helping manage the company through risks and potential concerns from investors.